Sequestration- What it may mean to Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

September 21, 2012

What will sequestration mean to the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging field? Sequestration is the package of automatic spending cuts included in the Budget Control Act (BCA) passed in August 2011. These cuts, scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, are projected to total $1.2 trillion and would be split evenly between discretionary domestic spending, exempting Medicaid, Social Security, and defense spending, excluding wars.

The sequester could potentially result in an $11 billion cut to Medicare.  Additionally, due to looming cuts to physician reimbursements caused by Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR), the 2 percent cut would make access to quality care more difficult for the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging field.  Another big hit would be to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), causing a $2.5 billion decline in funding. According to NIH Director Francis Collins, this would mean that the agency would award 2,300 fewer grants in the next fiscal year. Other cuts would drop Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding by $605 million, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $490 million; and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by $319 million.

While sequestration could be avoided through a congressional budget deal of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, republicans and democrats have not yet come to a resolution. It is unlikely that a decision will be made before Election Day, which will require congress time to come up with a new action plan for the upcoming lame duck session in November and December.  SNMMI will keep you apprised of updates as they become available.